Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce once said:

Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.

It is also evident that the hiring process is the most expensive part of running a business. According to the Human Capital Benchmarking report 2016 issued by the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost of a single hire is around $4129 with around 42 days to fill the position. Therefore, hiring managers cannot afford to make any wrong decisions or miss any important steps while recruiting new employees.

To make sure that your hiring process goes smoothly without skipping any significant step, the HR staff must prepare a hiring process checklist. This checklist should layout all important actions you need to take during the hiring process.

Why Should You Have a Hiring Process Checklist?

Preparing this list brings a lot of benefits to the organization such as:

  • Running the hiring process in a systematic and organized manner.
  • Ensuring that the HR team has taken all the necessary steps to hire the best candidate.
  • Helping with onboarding candidates more quickly because you are taking actions in a timely fashion.
  • Minimizing the learning curve for new HR professionals and ensuring a consistent process.

Hiring Process Checklist Items

Generally, the following steps make up the major portion of your hiring checklist.

#Step NameStatus
1Seek approval from stakeholders and management 
2Create or revise the job description 
3Determine the selection criteria 
4Prepare the job advertisement and post the job 
6Review resumes and shortlist applicants 
6Select the interview committee 
7Develop a standard interview questionnaire 
8Decide location and time for the interview 
9Conduct interviews and record information 
10Rate applicants and choose a candidate 
11Conduct the reference checks 
12Send an offer to the selected candidate 
13Notify rejected applicants 
14Schedule the new employee Orientation 
15Complete the necessary documentation and formalities for onboarding new hire 

Let’s dive deep and understand each step of the hiring process checklist.

1. Seek Approval from Management

The first step in developing the hiring process checklist is to assess the need for a new hire. Determine if this is a new position or a replacement. Then seek approval from the authorities to initiate the hiring process. The recruiter or talent acquisition team can receive this information from the hiring manager in a document called the “job requisition form”. This job requisition form should be kept in record to justify the purpose of the new hire.

2. Create or Update Job Description

The next step is to produce a job description or update one if it already exists. This document outlines the qualifications, physical requirements, essential functions, and responsibilities of the new hire. The job description also helps in later stages of hiring such as job advertisements, employee orientation, training, development, and much more. Therefore, it is a necessary part of the hiring process checklist.

3. Determine the Selection Criteria

At this stage, make a list of skills/knowledge you want to assess in your new hire. Determine what are the required and preferred qualifications? Here you can also list down some nice-to-have skills. This will assist you in identifying a matching candidate.

4. Prepare the Job Advertisement and Post the Job

Once you know all the requisites for the new position, you need to post the job on your preferred job board or careers site. There are two necessary checkpoints at this stage, which are:

  • Make sure that the content of the job post contains all the necessary information, and it is error-free.
  • Make sure job has been posted on all available channels.

5. Review Resumes and Shortlist Applicants

Once you start receiving resumes from multiple channels, perform a quick resume screening to filter the most relevant job applications. Then add the shortlisted applicants to your ATS (Applicant Tracking Software). Many companies are now using artificial intelligence-powered systems to review job applications. However in the case of manual shortlisting, job applicants can be graded using a customized resume grading rubric, where points are assigned to each resume. The highest scorer is then contacted for further screening or interview.

6. Select an Interview Committee

Unless you have a pre-selected interview committee, choose and document who will be the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round interviewer within this step of the hiring process.

7. Develop a Standard Interview Questionnaire

Depending on the nature of the position, make sure that the interview questionnaire is well prepared and thoroughly revised if needed. The interview questions need to be developed in a manner where you can analyze both the candidate’s soft skills and hard skills needed for the job.

8. Decide Location and Time for the Interview

This is an important step so that all the necessary arrangements can be made on the day of the interview. Your interview space can be your meeting room, staff room, a coffee shop, or an online meeting platform such as Skype, Zoom, WebEx, etc. This also necessitates contacting applicants and interviewers to coordinate a time for the interview.

9. Conduct Interviews and Record Information

This is the most important step of the overall hiring process. Make sure that all the key conversation points and information obtained from the candidate is documented properly to help with the evaluation phase. If you are hiring a technical professional or a software developer, you might give them assessments and skills tests. Make sure you are using a tool that can help you analyze and filter candidates based on skills assessments.

10. Rate Applicants and Select the Most Suitable Candidate

After completing the interviewing process, choosing a candidate is a significant part of the hiring process checklist but it can be quite challenging at times. This happens because sometimes you have many candidates qualifying for the same job role.

At this point, rate the candidates’ skills in terms of what is the highest priority for the business. It can be a cultural fit, soft skills, technical skills, formal education, attitude, or individual’s level of motivation. Usually, an interview evaluation form is used to rate the candidate after the interview.

11. Check References

Once the potential new hire is finalized, it is time to conduct reference checks by contacting the candidate’s previous employer/s and verify their employment record, job titles, duration of work, workplace behavior, etc. If it is an internal employee moving into a new job role, take a look at their personnel file.

12. Send a Job Offer

Once the hiring staff is satisfied with the reference checks, the selected candidate is sent a job offer. Recruiters need to be quick here because the decision has already been made and both you and the candidate have gone through a long procedure. The job offer should be extended via a phone call and in writing will all the necessary components mentioned such as job title, salary, contract duration, vacation, holidays, etc.

13. Notify Rejected Applicants

In your hiring process checklist, make sure that you add a step to notify rejected candidates by gently thanking them for their interest in the position. It is also essential to provide some constructive feedback and extend the invitation to apply again in the future.

Make sure that you do not send rejection letters to your runner up candidates until your chosen candidate has accepted the job offer. You might want to delay sending notifications to top candidates until your new hire has officially begun their work.

14. Schedule the New Employee Orientation

Inform the selected candidate about their start date and time and arrange for an orientation and new employee onboarding.

During the orientation make sure to:

  • Help the employee complete all the required forms.
  • Explain company policies and procedures.
  • Provide Company Handbook
  • Discuss Hours of Work
  • Discuss your policy on lunch and coffee breaks.

15. Keep a Record of Completed Forms

Once the candidate has completed all the required forms, make sure they are signed and filed properly. Use cloud-based solutions to store records in order to avoid any loss, theft, or damage to important documents.


The steps within the hiring process checklist can vary from industry to industry and one position to another but overall, the basic steps almost remain the same. Investing time in preparing a detailed hiring checklist can help the recruiters and hiring managers become more efficient and organized. The above list of steps can help you prepare a customized hiring checklist for your company.